Pinduoduo has made its most aggressive move yet into non-Chinese markets with the Sept. 1, 2022 launch of its Temu site, according to CNBC and other media reports. The site offers items across categories including apparel, jewelry, pet supplies and home and garden, many at bargain prices. Multiple women’s dresses are priced below $20 (some below $10) and only a few are above $50. Temu’s site shows average shipping times to most of the U.S. of seven to 15 business days, with no fees for orders of $49 or more.
Founded in 2015, Pinduoduo has focused on lower-income customers and the agricultural sector. It has become China’s third-largest ecommerce company after Alibaba and JD.com, relying on low-cost domestic manufacturers to keep prices down.
Both of Pinduoduo’s larger rivals already have several channels for tapping global markets. Even though the vast majority of Alibaba’s users are within China, the company’s AliExpress cross-border platform and its Lazada subsidiary in Southeast Asia serve many non-Chinese consumers. JD.com is working with Shopify to help retailers access China’s market via its JD Worldwide cross-border ecommerce platform as well as its Joybuy.com site.
While GlobalData forecasts that the Chinese ecommerce market will reach $3.3 trillion by 2025, the entire retail sector has been buffeted by slowdowns caused by COVID-19 and other macro events. In March 2022, Alibaba dropped to 13th from its previous position as fifth in Kantar Retail’s listing of the top 50 global retailers, and the company reportedly laid off more than 9,000 employees in August 2022 due to China’s economic problems.